Monday, July 6, 2020
Good evening Etheridge House and Arbors Family:
Thank you for taking our calls today. For those of you we did not reach directly we left messages. We learned today that a private sitter who worked in both the assisted living and Arbors building has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee’s last day worked in the assisted living building was June 30th and in the Arbors building was July 2nd.
Today in accordance with our pandemic guidelines we once again placed our campus on in-room quarantine and began monitoring our residents every 4 hours during wake time for signs and symptoms. We will do our best to encourage social distancing in our Arbors building as in-room quarantine is not recommended for those with memory impairment. All staff are wearing N-95 masks while on duty and gloves in resident rooms.
This week we will again test all residents and employees for COVID-19. We will have results within 72 hours of the final test being performed. You will be notified privately of your loved one’s results and we will share our overall results through an email update.
We so appreciate your patience and support during these challenging times. You can see from news reports that cases are surging throughout Tennessee. We believe this swift and intentional response is the right decision to keep our employees and residents safe.
Thank you for your trust in us. If you have further questions please direct them to me.
UPDATE: Thursday, June 11, 2020
To our families in the State of Tennessee:
On June 10th Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order to allow nursing homes and other long-term care facilities (like our assisted living and Arbors communities) to begin re-opening to visitors. We are pleased to be given the greenlight by the State but we want our families to clearly understand the conditions the Governor placed on the re-openings. Each of our communities will need to meet those conditions individually. We anticipate each community being ready to implement their visitation plans by July 6th. Some of our communities will have a more immediate implementation than others.
I thought it would be helpful for you to understand what Americare has done so far and will do to meet those conditions:
Testing of all staff and offering testing for all residents at least once, and compliance with applicable regulations
- Americare has completed whole house testing in all of TN communities and are awaiting final results in a few markets. Only a few communities remain to be fully tested, those results should be in by the end of June.
No new COVID-19 case in residents or staff members in the previous 28 days;
- Americare is reviewing all of our communities to see when this 28-day timeline will be met and we will make it part of each community’s re-opening plan
Compliant with Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities regulations and infection control guidelines;
- Americare complies at all of our communities in this regard
- Overall stability of the disease burden present in the community where the facility is located.
- Americare will consult the CDC’s data to ensure our communities are located in counties that meet this condition. Certain additional restrictions will apply in higher risk markets and this can change based on new cases in a specific county.
Once we meet these conditions we will then be asked to follow these guidelines:
- Making appointments prior to visiting and limiting the duration of visits;
- Americare is working on establishing a simple system to help our staff provide easy scheduling for our families.
- Limiting the number of visitors per resident and daily visitors per facility;
- Americare is seeking guidance on this requirement so we ensure that we can provide the maximum number of visitors allowed while keeping our residents and staff safe.
Enforcing visitor social distancing and mask requirements;
- Americare will provide you guidance on social distancing and mask requirements as part of our revised visitor policy
- Screening all visitors with symptom and temperature checks immediately upon facility entry or conducting outdoor visitation.
- You will be asked to complete a wellness check with each visit and this too will be included in our revised visitor policy.
Finally, we are given three options for visiting:
- In an outdoor setting, weather permitting;
- Using a visitation booth or protective barrier; and,
- A resident’s room if the visitor documents a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to the visit.
We are likely going to offer both an outside and inside option, which will vary based on the risk associated with amount of COVID cases and new cases within county. We realize the inside option places a burden on our families for additional testing and PPE requirement, but we want to be able to offer the inside visit for those who wish to make the effort.
You can expect your community’s revised visitor policy or a timeline (for those communities unable to meet the conditions) by June 19th. Until you receive your community’s revised visitor policy, please continue to abide by our no-visitors policy. Window visits of course are encouraged with a closed window to prevent transmission.
Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. We too want to reunite our residents with their loved ones. Doing so in a responsible way will help ensure everyone’s safety.
Vice President, Gateway Division
Americare Senior Living